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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held | Tonfa TF-Q5 Help

Reviews Summary for Tonfa TF-Q5
Tonfa TF-Q5 Reviews: 5 Average rating: 3.6/5 MSRP: $$55.00
Description: VHF/UHF 10w Hand-Held
Product is in production.
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VE5EDE Rating: 5/5 Feb 5, 2015 18:36 Send this review to a friend
Not a 1 Star Radio!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
During the six months I've owned this radio it has distinguished itself far above any other Chinese radio (it's easily equal to the Baofeng UV-B5 and UV-82) as well as a number of popular Japanese standards. The speaker output is high fidelity and the squelch tail is virtually silent compared to the cheezie little speakers most radios have. Unaccountably, it brings up repeaters in side by side tests with identical antennas and smokes the competition on both transmit and receive.

The "problem", it seems, is the 10w claim on the box with the earlier models. The old CB trick is to compare the radio with another of known power on a power meter with a dummy-load. The output has been measured as roughly the same as the UV-5R (5 watts) using this test. For those who believe output power is everything and receiver sensitivity is nothing, this was an open and shut case for them.

All my life I've noted that hams really respond quite poorly to inaccurate specifications and false advertising. Tonfa really blew it trying to pass this radio off as 10 watts. Or did they?

On the other hand, isn't it strange that when field strengths are measured in side by side comparisons (using the same antennas) that the Tonfa Q5 delivers about 30-40% more output than a 5w radio?....just what you'd expect from 10 watts. This tells us something that the power bridge does not.

Most hams know that the antenna "ground" on a handheld (such as it is) is quite poor and can be improved dramatically with a "rat-tail". And while I haven't dissected the radio (it's too small for my clumsy hands), I'm suspicious that this simple improvement comes from the Tonfa factory. Finally, a good antenna ground. And on a "cheap' radio no less. Yet, be forewarned, the stubby stock antenna that come with this radio is absolutely abysmal. It was replaced and the radio came alive with the $2.19 e-bay special.

The intermod handling and selectivity of the Q5 are as good or better than the best of my assortment of Icom, Yaesu, Kenwood and Alinco handhelds. Receiver sensitivity exceeds most of them. And it also shines on 440. The speech output is easily the best I've ever heard in 40 years of licensure. A fully charged battery measures 2992 mah capacity under load and lasts forever. A 12v adapter pack with cigarette lighter plug is also now available. Therefore, the Q5 is all I carry anymore.....this supposedly "1 star radio".

After forty years in the greatest hobby on earth, I have found most hams, though not all, like some real data before evaluating equipment. Most of them do figure out how to use the radio before ruining it and promptly writing a bad review in revenge. Most hams still have the integrity to ACTUALLY USE the radio for a while before making up their minds. On the other hand, I heard one new Handi-Ham called a "lid" three times his first week on the air because his adaptive interface was still being tweaked. I'm under no delusions that not all hams are perfect gentlemen or astute thinkers. But "1 Star" for failing the CB radio test? On a radio that admittedly has an astonishingly fine front end? This was once a gentlemen's hobby, where people constructed their own equipment and tested it on the air, but it has succumbed to a snobbish consumer mentality that is inevitably accompanied by mindless and vulgar expressions of opinion, both here and on the air. Go away!

While the question still remains over advertising the radio as 10 watts, I do not hesitate giving this radio 5 stars, irrespective of any price. And I've bought another one to prove it. Highly recommended....73
W8EDV Rating: 1/5 Oct 1, 2014 15:34 Send this review to a friend
Not a 10 watt radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased one of these TF-Q5 radios off of Amazon, and when I got I put it on a meter and dummy load to measure the output. It measured just under 5 watts, which is far from that it says on label inside the back of the radio. I notice when I touched the antenna it would cut in and out even though the antenna was on tight. If I shook the radio it also cut out and in so I knew it had something loose inside and I notified the Seller, and they were very polite , and sent me a replacement free of charge, however the second radio is the same as the first it has some internal issues that causes it to cut out if you wiggle the antenna, and putting a different antenna on it such as a 771, gain antenna, the radio wont play at all. Ive' put 4 different antennas on it and I only get it to work with one of them. I took the radio apart and I cannot find anything loose on the main board, so I'm not sure what the defect is but the two I have are defective and definately not 10 watt radios. I'd like to know where these guys are buying this radio with a 10 watt output. Has anyone else measured the output on the Tonfa Q5 or are we just assuming that because it brings up repeater in the distance that it is a 10 watt radio, and where does anyone see a 3000 mah battery? The battery on both units I have are about the same size as the Baofeng UV 82 ,and the Tonfa Q5 radio is just about a direct clone of a Baofeng UV 82. My guess is the battery is about 1800 mah because I purchased after market batteries for some of my Chinese hand helds, and a 2600 mah battery for my Wouxun radio is almost 1/2 inch thick, it's much larger than the 1700 mah stock battery so I'd like to see how they got 3000 ma into this tiny battery on the TONFA Q5 radio. The labels must be misprinted because they say 3000 ma on the battery label, and inside the radio it says 10w output. I looked on Ebay and all I see now are Tonfa Q5 radios rated at 5 watt output so I think they have corrected the misprints even though the boxes I have for these TONFA radios say 10W right on the top of the box in big letters. If there is a 10 watt model out there I'd like to know where anyone bought it from and did they measure the output power as I did.

On a positive note when these radios did work the audio is great, intermond was non existant in my area, and the display is crisp and clear and easy to read, I had it set on the Blue color which looked good. It's too bad that these are not 10watt for the price it would be a nice radio.

AA7BI Rating: 5/5 Sep 12, 2014 16:44 Send this review to a friend
Hitting Repeaters Everywhere  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Have not checked the power output, but it's hitting repeaters I couldn't get before. Short-stubby antennas will beat the dummy-load that is supplied with this radio. My worst sma-f antenna has about 8db gain over stock. Using the Diamond RH 771 (a $4 e-bay antenna) I calculate an 18-20db gain over the stock antenna! Hitting twice the repeaters from my armchair over any other radio.

Nice features include a 7 character Alpha-Numeric display and 256 memories. Sound is good. Feel is good. Intermod is good. 3,000 mAh battery! May be the best Chinese offering yet at $55.

The programming software is great, but hard to find. You can find it here:

I have a number of Baofengs, and this beats them all in every way.

KC1BRA Rating: 2/5 Sep 11, 2014 04:28 Send this review to a friend
Not as Advertised  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought two of these radios mainly because of the 10 watts of power that these radios are supposed to have. The manual, the box, and the specs under the battery on the back of the radio all say 10 watts.

After charging the radios up I connected them to my Jetstream VHF/UHF forward and reverse power/SWR meter and connected the power meter to a 300 watt dummy load. The meter showed 4.8 watts on a fully charged radio. I was concerned that the meter might be damaged so I connected a 5 watt Baofeng UV-5R to and tested its power 5.2 watts. I then tested my second Tonfa and the results were the same.

My testing information shows this.

Hi Power, VHF: 5 Watts
Hi Power, UHF: 4 Watts
Low Power, : 1/2 watt

On the positive side this radio has a large 3000 mha battery and is fairly easy to program once you find the software. The company website is on the sticker under the battery under the back of the radio. The sound quality is good. The stock antenna is very, poor definitely change it for a quarter wave whip antenna. If you know of a problem with my testing method please let me know in the comments section.
VE5EDE Rating: 5/5 Aug 29, 2014 17:44 Send this review to a friend
A Powerfull HT  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I must be among the very first to own one of these. Got mine with a programming cable (same as UV-5R) and a programming disk on e-bay for about $60 total shipped. It arrived within a reasonable time. The programming disk includes a USB driver, but no program specifically for this radio. I have not gotten it to respond to CHIRP as yet. Hope to have help on that front soon filling its 256 memory channels.

Because I live on the fringes of repeater coverage out in the country, I bought this to turn marginal coverage into a sure thing. At 10 watts, this represents the most powerful HT I've ever seen advertised. And indeed, it has that little bit of extra punch. Audio is clear and squelch breaks aren't obnoxious.

It is slightly larger than the UV-5R and is solidly build with a first-rate belt-clip. The antenna seems a bit smallish to me, so I rather doubt it is particularly effective. I use my TF-Q5 with a 14" flexible antenna that extends its range considerably. Between antenna gain and the power gain, communications are much more reliable. The battery capacity is 3,000 mAh and allows for longer talk times than I had expected. It also requires just a little more time to charge.

As usual, the price is certainly right. And the radio certainly does everything is advertises. In fact, it sounds better than most. Alas, I sure hope programming software is out there somewhere.....

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